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1  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / I was a great catch.... on: November 01, 2008 05:08:09 PM

As far back as 1989 (The year The Little Mermaid came out) I have always wanted to be a mermaid. I love my mermaid costume and even though it wasn't perfect, it is by far my very favorite costume that I have ever made.

My husband and I have a favorite song about a mermaid - "The Mermaid" by Great Big Sea. If you don't know the song it basically goes like this:

Boy signs onto a whaling ship, falls in love with a mermaid and goes to live with her in the sea. He has a little problem though - he loves her from head to waist. But the rest of her is a fish. But sadly, one day she swims away and he misses her until her sister swims by. Her sister is a special mermaid. She is an ugly fish from head to waist, but her bottom part is a girl. Problem solved. He decides he doesn't give a damn about the upper part and that's how he gets his 'tail'. (That is a direct quote from the end of the song.)

So my husband and I were the mermaid and the fisherman. I made my mermaid costume loosely based from Simplicity 4043. It's made of jade knit, satin and organza from the Camelot Collection from Hancock Fabrics. It's decorated with about five yards of iridescant sequins that began to fall off as the night wore on. I accessorized with a fishnet wrap that I tied pieces of brown and green mummy cloth into and called it my 'seaweed wrap'. (I'm a sushi lover!) The only part of my husband's costume that I actually made was his hat, which I knitted a couple years ago. Then we participated in a trick or treat tailgating party - we live in Notre Dame country - and I sat in the back of our SUV with my legs covered up and welcomed all the little monsters to my ship and gave out Spongebob Squarepants candy. Overall, fabulous night.
2  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Welcome to the World gifts (with a little story) on: September 28, 2008 06:17:33 AM
Our cousins, Neil and Kelly, just welcomed daughter #2 on Wednesday this week. Her name is Olivia. I knew I needed to make a little welcoming gift for her, because she'll probably be two years old before my hubby and I finally get to see her in real life.

Fortunately, my husband's grandmother who loves to support my fabric habit, picked up some baby knit at the local farmer's market for me recently. It's so cute. Yellow with little zoo animals printed on it. Can we all lovingly agree that sometimes grannies don't always know exactly what it is they've found for us? As I started to cut out the pieces for a baby snuggie and receiving cap, I realized that this was no ordinary baby knit! It was a John Lennon series nursery fabric! (Also, probably WAY more expensive originally that what Granny bought it for!) I was so excited because Cousin Kelly is a HUGE Beatles lover. How convenient! Not only did I make something for the baby, I made something that her mommy will reach for again and again!

I'm sorry, I don't have any pictures of the baby IN the outfit yet, because they haven't received it yet. I'm just too eager to post. When we finally get pictures of the baby in this sweet little suit, I'll add them.

Sweet little baby snuggie:

Matching receiving cap:

Closeup of the fabric, so that you can see Lennon's signature:

3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / X-Stitch a piece of Fine Art ! - Now with closeups of the stitches! on: September 13, 2008 03:55:07 AM
I went through a period of time where I didn't have enough hobbies and too much time on my hands. Sadly, that is no longer the case in my world. During this time I got bored with the needle art kits in the local craft stores and decided to branch out to the internet. I was richly rewarded in my search.

Nothing pleases me more than killing an entire day in an art museum. I adore fine art - really truly beautiful art that needs no explanation. The painting 'The Kiss' by Gustav Klimt is just such a piece to me. So bought this  kind of expensive pattern from xs-collectibles.com about six years ago. It seriously took me three years to complete. At the time the site was pretty small, and only had very famous pieces of art replicated into x-stitch patterns. It took 72 colors of DMC floss and is about 50,000 stitches on 22 count aida. Originally, I didn't think it was going to turn out very well, but in the end it came out so beautifully that I decided to frame it instead of turn it into a pillow. Besides, it was too much work to just throw on my bed.

And without further commentary:

Wow! Thanks for all the amazing feedback. You guys are way more talkative than they are over on the clothing board!
Getting closeup pictures of the 50,000 little teeny tiny stitches was a challenge, as I have sealed this sucker up TIGHT behind non-reflective glass and permanent framing tape. (I worked at Hobby Lobby in the frame shop when I was in college.) So after experimenting with several angles and light sources, I have produced some decently good pics of the stitches.

Their hands - the closer you get, the more difficult it is to distinguish the features. (The sign of perfect impressionism in art!)

Her lips.

Her arm, and some of the flowers on her sleeves.

4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / My First Art Beat and how horrible it was. on: September 12, 2008 05:28:21 AM
Here in the great city of South Bend, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who I am not a fan of, we have a city artists' fair every year through the downtown area. Usually, it is a wonderful event where thousands of people flock and enjoy food, performing arts, fine artists and craftsters of all walks. This year was my first Art Beat.

It was a total disaster!

Not only did we get the leftovers of Hurricane Gustav, so it POURED rain for the entire evening, apparently no one in the entire event staff planned for rain! So the event was moved into a nearby civic center, and all of us vendors were crammed in like sardines! I had gone in with five other friends to get triple booth space. The site coordinator tried to cram all six of us into ten feet. After we yelled and screamed about how much we paid to get the triple space, he grudgingly allowed us eighteen feet of space. My display was trimmed down from a whole table full of custom clothing, to two feet.

In the end, I got two special orders and didn't sell a single pre-made piece of clothing.  But I learned some very valuable lessons! Now I know what to expect for the next sale!So, without further ado, a few scenes from our horrible night.

My darling baby dresses....

The pink and green striped dress has a special story. I designed it for a little girl named Ophelia, who celebrated her 8th birthday on Sept. 6. I also made an American girl sized doll dress to match. Ophelia's parents just happened to be at Art Beat, and she walked right past our display, and the first thing she noticed was her name on that dress. "MOM!" she said, "That dress has MY name on it! Can you buy that dress for me? I LOVE that dress!" Little did she know that it was going to be wrapped up with her name on it the very next day!

My friends' displays - eB photography, River's Edge Turkish Jewelry, Sours Reupholstery...

A wobbly picture of Sarah, and her brand new jewelry company, Elemental. She was equally as pissed as I was the situation.

5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Another day, another dress. on: August 17, 2008 11:56:46 AM
Made this new maxi dress yesterday. It must be a big hit, because people now check me out everywhere I go, and the hostesses and waitresses and bartender at Logan's Roadhouse all stopped at our table during different intervals of our meal today to admire and compliment me. I have no idea what kind of fabric I made it out of - I bought it two years ago, and it's a stetch cotton of some kind. The hardest part was the back, which definitely could have been better. Live and learn.

There IS one thing I hate about it - my machine pushed the gathers out of the very front of the bodice and torso, and so there is a spot in the front that has a bit too much material and therefore poofs a bit. My father in law noticed it immediately and asked if I was hiding a baby bump in my dress that they hadn't been told about. (They've been on us since we got engaged about having children and why we aren't having any.) But I'm too lazy to tear it all out, and I can always make another one, so I'm not going to worry about it.


Very light and perfect for summer.

6  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Fanciful Frocks - VERY pic heavy! on: August 13, 2008 06:15:48 PM
Little back story. When my two sisters and I were little, our mother's best friend, a seamstress, made clothing for us ALL the time. We have dozens of pictures of the three of us in beautiful matching dresses, or darling holiday apparel appliques with rhinestones and lace. (This was WAYYYY back in the 80's.) Mom's BFF was Pam, and sadly, Pam never had any children of her own to model her beautiful creations.

Fast forward to today - my best friend Dana has three beautiful daughters - Bella (7), Jillian (3) and Kailee (5 months), whom I absolutely adore and wish I could claim as my own. I do not have any children of my own, but I do love to make beautiful clothing. Now, in loving memory of Mom's BFF Pam, I am posting the first things that I have made for MY best friend's girls.

The girls sitting nicely in front of the piano....

Posing for the camera. Bella is super skinny-minnie. I haven't stitched the ribbon belt to her dress yet and it kept falling from her chest to her waist.

More posing. Bella designed her dress. She drew me a picture and I drafted the pattern. She even picked the fabric out.

Back view.

Kailee, happiest baby in the whole world, and quite thrilled with her pretty new dress.

Aerial veiw of the back of the baby dress. And a pretty awesome picture if I can say so of my own photography skills.

So that's it! The fabric was clearanced Tutti Frutti from Hancock. I work there, so I always get first pick at the markdowns. Yay. Dana keeps telling me there's good money in kid's clothes. I just love to see my work appreciated and loved. Smiley
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Someday I will own my own dress shop..... on: August 08, 2008 02:45:51 AM
in the mean time, I keep pumping out little dresses like these.

This is my Twiggy Dress. It is designed after the wide bodied mini-dresses from the 60's. I trimmed down the sides several times because I just wasn't sure how wide to make them. But I think this works, especially with the cardigan. Does it need white gogo's? Haven't come to that conclusion yet.

This is my Eyeball Dress. It is the most comfortably soft and cool little thing. The yoke and bottom band are white cotton broadcloth and the body is a soft cotton jersey knit that I got at Hancock Fabrics. After trial and error and several calls to my mom to help me remember how to sew knits (always use a ball point needle and a zigzag stitch!) I got this dress.

This is my newest creation -Cotton Candy. The underslip is a poly-interlock knit and the overdress is just a lace fancy that I found on the clearance table. How sad that I haven't taken a picture of myself in it yet. According to all the little old ladies at church, I am an angel and a babydoll in this pink confection. It is quite alright with me though. If I can brighten their days by being adorable all the time, than I must be doing okay. Each piece of the dress took about two hours to whip up, and the ribbon was an afterthought, as the body of the overdress is very similar to the shape of the Twiggy dress - wide. The ribbon cuts me in half and give the body a little more shape. Too bad you can't see it here. I promise, it looks much better on a person than on the hanger.

8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Asian Brocade Tops on: August 01, 2008 07:00:26 AM
I love Asian brocade - the patterns, the colors, the textures, everything. These are just a few of the shirts that I have been putting together this summer. I was really pleased that they turned out so well, and actually fit the people that they were made for.
This was my first ever project with brocade. It turned out so well, that I decided I needed to have one in every color.

And finally, I made this one recently for my youngest sister who starts school at Purdue the day after her 19th birthday, and won't be at home with us then. This is my favorite because the color is so beautiful.

Comments are welcome and appreciated!
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